As the country battles a resurgence in coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases, the Department of Education (DepEd) has instructed its local offices to “exercise discretion” in suspending classes and other teaching-related activities.
In a memorandum issued by Curriculum and Instruction Strand Undersecretary Diosdado San Antonio dated Jan. 12, DepEd reiterated the policy on academic ease.
The regional directors, schools division superintendents, school heads and administrators, and private schools were also given discretion on declaring suspension of classes and other related activities this month.
San Antonio said that the move is in consideration of teachers’ and learners’ health and well-being” as the country experiences an “alarming surge” in COVID-19 cases.
Given the varying health situations in different areas, San Antonio said that the ROs and SDOs are given the option to declare the suspension of classes within January 2022.
This decision, he said, should be based on their reliable assessment of the health status of their teachers and learners and the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) risk classification.
San Antonio explained that the ROs/SDOs shall decide on the specific dates and number of days for the suspension of classes. However, the period of class suspension should not “exceed two (2) weeks to avoid a prolonged disruption in the current school calendar.”
The ROs/SDOs that will declare the suspension of classes were likewise instructed to make the “necessary adjustments” in the school calendar to ensure that the number of school days in the current school year will not be less than 200 days.
“During the suspension of classes, all synchronous and asynchronous classes shall be put on hold while submission of academic requirements and conduct of other teaching-related activities must be moved to a later date,” San Antonio said.
“For late submission of requirements, accommodations must be afforded for those with valid reasons,” he added.
DepEd also required the schools to continuously implement the Suggested Measures to Foster Academic Ease During the COVID-19 Pandemic as stated in DM-CI-2020-307 in “order to ensure flexibility in the teaching-learning process amid the pandemic by recalibrating the strategy of assigning teaching responsibilities and learning activities to safeguard the wellbeing of both teachers and learners.”
Meanwhile, San Antonio said that private schools may also “exercise their own discretion relative to the suspension of classes and K to 12 learning activities when COVID-19 risks in their respective areas are high.”
This, he added, should be done in consultation with their respective parents’ associations.
San Antonio also reminded all DepEd personnel, teachers, and learners to remain vigilant, observe health and safety protocols, and follow IATF guidelines.
“Everyone is also enjoined to pray for the immediate and complete recovery of those who have contracted COVID-19 and other similar illnesses,” he added.